“At the top of the list of the most common written words is, unsurprisingly, “the,” related to German’s gendered der, die, and das. Germanic function words, such as “and,” “but,” and “that,” pepper the rest of the list. English’s most-written noun (“time”), verb (“be”), and adjective (“good”) are also Germanic in origin. Today, English borrows liberally for its vocabulary — scholars estimate that words from more than 350 languages have entered English — but the roots of its linguistic tree are considered Western Germanic. English-speakers are far from alone: Dutch, Afrikaans, Frisian (spoken in parts of the Netherlands and Germany), Yiddish, and of course German also developed from the same West Germanic roots. In total, these tongues are spoken as primary languages by about 450 million people throughout the world.”
Courtesy of interestingfacts.com
Present world population is almost 8 billion. So, roughly 18% of the world’s population speaks a West Germanic language as primary.
I learned about the great vowel shift in a college class, History of the English Language. All the vowel pronunciations flipped. English majors learn how to recite The Canterbury Tales in middle English. We tried Beowulf in old English.